November 23, 2015

Standing behind coal

BY ALYSSA MEIER
Editor

Hundreds of concerned business-owners, government officials, and North Dakota residents crammed into the Bavendick Stateroom at Bismarck State College’s National Energy Center of Excellence on Nov. 16 for a meeting hosted by the North Dakota Department of Health to address new EPA emission regulations.

The Department of Health kicked off the series of meetings in Williston on Nov. 9, driven by new, extreme emission standards for coal-fired plants that were announced by the Environmental Protection Agency under its Clean Power Plan.

The plan would require all coal plants in the state to reduce 2012’s carbon dioxide emissions by 45 percent by 2030, costing about $50 to each North Dakota resident per month, based on the EPA’s estimates on cost to comply. The health department said that North Dakota has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by
11 percent since 2005.

"The way the plan is written out, it is very difficult for us to be able to methodically go ahead without major, major impacts to the economy and to jobs in North Dakota," said Dave Glatt, environmental health section chief for the North Dakota Department of Health.

Glatt emphasized that these standards would affect more than just North Dakota.

"North Dakota is an energy-exporting state," Glatt said. "Approximately 55 percent of the electricity that is generated goes out of state. So what we do in North Dakota has the potential to impact nine state areas."


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